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High Holy Days 5777/2016

For the sake of one true penitent, the whole world is pardoned. - Talmud

Please check back to this page throughout the summer, as we update it with new information!

Services will be held in the sanctuary at Luther Place Memorial Church and the Washington DCJCC. The Break-the-Fast will be held at Washington Plaza Hotel. For more information, see details below or contact us.

Service Leaders

As usual, Bet Mishpachah's innovative and highly participatory High Holy Day services will be co-led by our own Rabbi Laurie Green and our cadre of experienced lay leaders and Darshanim, with Rabbi Ben Shalva serving again as our Hazan (cantor).

Bet Mishpachah's superb Choir and cellist John Kaboff will further enhance services with their beautiful music and will help lift up our prayers, hopes and Kavanot (intentions) for the New Year 5777.


Bet Mishpachah is the only place in town that uses our unique, meaningful and uplifting liturgy -- an elegant, thoughtful mix of tradition and innovation that has been developed over many years by members on our Liturgy Committee, very ably led by Scott Reiter.

Nowhere else will you find the many LGBT readings written by Bet Mishpachah members, the modern translations that speak to us today, the fully egalitarian English and inclusive Hebrew texts, or the Ahavnu prayer, which reinforces the good deeds we have done over the past year. And no other congregation sings the Avinu Malkeinu / Imeinu Sh'chinateinu with such heart-felt emotion and purity.


The month of Elul, which immediately precedes Rosh ha-Shana, is a period of reflection and introspection that helps us prepare for the work of T'shuva (turning) that is our task over the High Holy Days.

To encourage us in this task, the rabbis taught that "Elul" is an acronym for "Ani L'dodi V'dodi Li" -- "I am my beloved's and my beloved is mine," from the love poetry of Shir ha-Shirim (Song of Songs). This reminds us of God's love and desire for us as we seek to refocus our lives and become better people and better Jews.

Rabbi Yehuda ha-Levi, a religious and secular poet and philosopher in 11th century Spain who also wrote poems with homoerotic themes, put it like this:

Eternal One, where can I find You?
Your place seems hidden and afar!
But...You are nearer to us than our own bodies and souls...
When I went out towards You,
I found You coming towards me...."

During Elul, which begins on Saturday night, Sept. 3, we recite Psalm 27 and use some of the special High Holy Days melodies in our Shabbat services to help us prepare mentally and emotionally for the New Year.


Havdala and S'lichot, Saturday, September 24
8:00 pm       DCJCC

Erev Rosh ha-Shana I, Sunday, October 2
8:00 pm       LPMC

Rosh ha-Shana I, Monday, October 3 
10:00 am      LPMC

5:00 pm        P Street Beach, near 23rd & P Streets NW

Erev Rosh ha-Shana II, Monday, October 3 
8:00 pm        DCJCC

Rosh ha-Shana II, Tuesday, October 4 
10:00 am       DCJCC

Erev Shabbat Shuva, Friday, October 7
8:00 pm        DCJCC

Shabbat Shuva Morning, Saturday, October 8
10:00 am        DCJCC

Kol Nidrei, Tuesday, October 11
7:00 pm        LPMC

Yom Kippur, Wednesday, October 12 
10:00 am      LPMC

Yom Kippur Martyrology & Yizkor 
1:00 pm      LPMC

Yom Kippur Study Session
2:00 pm        LPMC 

4:45 pm        LPMC

N'ila and Havdala
5:45 pm        LPMC

Break-the-Fast (Advance Reservation Required)
7:00 pm        WPH

Service Locations

Washington DC Jewish Community Center (DCJCC)
1529 16th Street, NW

Luther Place Memorial Church (LPMC)
1226 Vermont Avenue, NW

Washington Plaza Hotel (WPH)
10 Thomas Circle, NW


All locations are accessible by public transit. To plan your trip by bus or train, please visit the Metro Trip Planner. Please be aware that Metrorail is conducting a major reconstruction program through 2016.

Sign Language Interpretation

Sign language interpretation for those who are hard of hearing or deaf is available upon request only. Please submit a request to sign@betmish.org by September 15, 2016.


Parking is available at the Washington Plaza Hotel at 10 Thomas Circle. A very limited number of discount vouchers will be available at the membership table in the LPMC lobby and will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis.


All Bet Mishpachah members receive High Holy Day tickets with their membership renewal or application. High Holy Day tickets for members include a delicious Break-the-Fast meal after N'ila (the Concluding service) and Havdala at the end of Yom Kippur. Tickets will be mailed to all members who renew by September 9.  After that, they will be available at "will call' before services.

For those in the wider community, the suggested donation for HHD tickets is $225. As with our membership dues, no one is ever turned away due to personal financial constraints. For non-members, tickets to attend our Break-the-Fast at the Washington Plaza Hotel are $52; advance reservations are required. Order and pay by PayPal by using the "Donate" button below or download, complete, and mail our High Holy Day ticket form. Consider joining Bet Mishpachah instead.  As our membership page explains, joining Bet Mishpachah is simple -- just fiill out the membership form.


Yizkor Booklet

In Jewish tradition, when we write the name of someone we love or respect who has died, we append the Hebrew letters zayin and lamed after their name. This stands for zichrono/zichrona li-v'racha, “may they be remembered as a blessing.” Making a donation to Bet Mishpachah in their memory and having their names published in Bet Mishpachah’s annual Yizkor booklet is one way to do this. Please complete and mail the Yizkor Booklet Form to submit a request. Requests must be received by Friday, September 16, 2016.

Become a HHD Logistics Volunteer

The congregation needs volunteers to help at High Holy Day services to serve as ushers, and to staff the Information, will call, and donations tables. (Please note: only donations positions handle money.) For all logistics volunteers positions, you will need to arrive 30 minutes before services begin. If you are able to help, please contact us with your availability and volunteer interests. Thank you for making these services possible.